Is a Nikon D80 overkill?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Curren~Sea, Dec 19, 2006.

  1. Curren~Sea macrumors regular

    Curren~Sea

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #1
    I’m trying to decide between a D80 or a D50.

    Requirements are to take excellent family pictures (two girls aged 2 & 4 who just happen to be incredibly cute and beautiful).

    I’ve been using little digitals, currently a Sony DSC-W50, which is great outdoors and easy to pack around, but not good indoors, is too slow (although one of the fastest little camera’s I’ve tested), and the worst of all problem is red-eye. (I know I can edit this out but you often lose eye color that way and it often looks almost as bad when you’re done).

    I’ve had a couple of 35mm’s, currently a Canon Rebel which is ok, not great. Now I want a digital SLR and it’s down to a Nikon D50 or D80.

    I’m not a hobbyist nor do I aspire to be an amateur photo buff, although I like having options to grow into.

    Price is not the issue, but value is very important, if you know what I mean.

    I’ve read a lot on the web, surfed, browsed, searched, etc

    Do I need 10mp? Is that just going to eat up my hard drive as I take hundreds of pictures of my kids, many of which I end up resizing to post on my website?

    Will I feel limited by the D50 in any way?

    As for lenses I will see how the kits work out but I like the idea of the 50/1.4 and a VR zoom. Perhaps with these, I won’t need to use the flash as much indoors.

    The new D40 is too small, I don’t like how it feels. I like the D50 and D80 body. Don’t really care about the lcd screen but I do care about a camera that is easy to use yet flexible enough to do what I want.

    As an aside: My last big vacation several years ago was to Spain and I lugged around my Canon 35mm. It was a pain. I got home and started using little digitals and thought, “Hey, I should have just used this the whole time and saved myself from lugging all that crap around! Now however, I have come full circle and realize that a full glass camera is probably the best fit for me right now. And, I’ve always wanted a Nikon

    As I type this up, I feel like I’m leaning towards a D80. But I don’t want to pay hundreds extra for features I’ll rarely use. But if there are other good reasons that make the D80 a better choice, I’d like to hear them. Thanks!
     
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #2
    I have the D50.

    Buy the lenses you want then a body with any left over budget. It is not worth buying an expensive body if that means you can't get the lens you want. But if you have budget for both go with the D80.

    The "80" gives you a few more pixels. You want these mostly for crops. An uncropped D50 frame is big enough for full page prints at 300DPI while the D80 can make 30% larger prints at the same DPI. You pay a lot of money for that extra 30%. I tend to crop everything I print. I hrdly ever keep the 3:2 aspect ratio.

    Concider not buying the d50 kit lens and putting the money to the kit lens from the D80 You may never need a longer lens than that and the 18 end is wide enough for most people

    The 50mm f/1.4 is really what you want. I can see the difference in a second between shots with my 50mm vs. the 18-70. A lot more "snap" in the 50mm lens. I have an 85mm f/1.8 put it is to long for indoor kid shots. On the DX format the 50mm is already a mid-telephoto.

    You might think that a VR lens would let you shoot in low light. It can compensate for camera shake but not subject motion. If the kid is moving VR can't help you. Only a faster f-stop can (or a strobe)

    Because I have the D50 I plan wait one more product cycle and buy whatever replaces the current D200/D80 I don't see the D80 is that great of an upgrade for me and I'd MUCH rather have a 80-200 f/2.8 lens than a new D80. But if I were buying now I'd base the D50/D80 decision on budget. If I could afford the D80 I'd get it but truthfully the D50 will do well enough
     
  3. extraextra macrumors 68000

    extraextra

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    Jun 29, 2006
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    #3
    I would get the D50 and use the extra money for better lenses (since that is what will really make a difference in your pictures), but the extra megapixels of the D80 will allow you to crop more. Do you find yourself cropping images heavily, and often wishing that you could crop a little more (but can't, because then the image isn't sharp)? If the answer is yes, then you should go for the D80.
     
  4. Foucault macrumors 6502

    Foucault

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    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    #4
    I agree the D50 is an excellent and durable camera. I've had it for a year, and it has survived Burning Man and various other extreme conditions that I have taken it to. Spend the extra money on the 50mm Nikkor lens, and get the 18-200mm lens (if you can afford it) and those are the two lenses you'll ever need for what you're going to do.
     
  5. Buschmaster macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    Feb 12, 2006
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #5
    I have the W50. The D50 is lightyears ahead of it. You'll be content with that. It was suggested to you that you buy the lenses first and then buy the body, I would say lay out a budget, get a really nice lens or two, get a tripod, then get the body after that. You may not need the D80, anyway, but it could make your decision a lot easier but eliminating it financially anyway.
     
  6. b0tt094 macrumors 6502

    b0tt094

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    #6
    D50 all the way, the 10 megapixel will cluter ur comp if u take take as many pics as u say, ive had it since october and im still exploring and discovering, it has great preset settings and an even better manual mode. I think the d80 is boarderline overkill for u, i have a friend who has a d80 and is alittle upset becasue of how much obverkill it is for her... in other words she likes my d50 vmore:cool:

    ya and uf ur shooting kids i'd say save money for a good wide angle lense
     
  7. Curren~Sea thread starter macrumors regular

    Curren~Sea

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    Jun 21, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #7
    Thanks for the replies.

    Any comments on the D40?

    Ken Rockwell seems to like it.
     
  8. EastCoastFlyer macrumors regular

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    Aug 13, 2006
    Location:
    North Florida and Northern Delaware
    #8
    Don't know anything about the D40 -- but I can speak very highly of the D50. If you click on the link in my signature below, virtually everything (with maybe 2 exceptions) was shot with my 50 -- and many with the kit lenses.
     
  9. Silentwave macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Location:
    Gainesville, FL
    #9
    D50 is a nice camera, but the images coming out of the new D40 are out of this world.

    If it feels too small for you then don't get it, and the new, smaller battery does worry me, but the big screen is great, the viewfinder is larger than the one in the D50/70, and quality is phenomenal. The sensor really has been taken to a new level, high ISOs are absolute dreams.

    Chris' advice is sound, perhaps the most sound advice i've heard for DSLRs.

    Get the lenses you want, let your budget afterwards dictate which body.
     
  10. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #10
    Read the reviews on http://www.dpreview.com of each camera, then go to the store and handle each of them. There are some key differences in the handling of the D50 as opposed to the D80: one being that the D50 has just one command dial, whereas the D80 has two. The D80 has a larger LCD. The D80 shares some features with the D70/D70s that are not available on the D50.

    The D40 is cute but limited in that it will not accept Nikon's older lenses; this can be a key point when you want to expand your lens collection. Again, as has already been mentioned, before buying any camera body, consider what you want to do with it and what lenses would most likely get you where you want to be.
     
  11. failsafe1 macrumors 6502a

    failsafe1

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    #11
    Always buy good lenses and then get a body you can afford. After 27 years in the photo biz I have seen too many people buy really nice camera bodies and then slap pop bottle lenses on the front. I don't think you can have too many pixels either but glass is the most important first thing.
     
  12. SpankyPenzaanz macrumors 6502a

    SpankyPenzaanz

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  13. Curren~Sea thread starter macrumors regular

    Curren~Sea

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #13
    Thanks again for the replies.

    I spent a couple hours with the D80 and D50 tonight, only a minute or two on the D40 because it just didn't feel as good in my hands. The 50 and 80 feel almost exactly the same. The sales guy was great in helping me pick the right one, which seems to be the D50. I'm charging the battery now...

    The D80 is definitely a nicer camera. I really like the larger viewfinder. It also has a nicer sounding snap. Many of the cool features on the D80 would probably be wasted on me at the moment, although I may grow into them later.

    For now, I'm looking forward to taking some great Christmas shots with my new Nikon D50. I'll start with the delivered 18-55 DX lens. It's nice and light, and seems to be snappy. I like how this setup feels. I'll probably get a 70-300G but we'll see. For casual snapshots I think I have the perfect camera.
     
  14. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    Location:
    Oregon coast
    #14
    My only gripe about the D50 is that the ISO settings seem a little low to me, like about a stop. Nothing scientific about my observations, just the way it feels when I shoot with the kit lens. f/3.5 on the "fast" end often requires me to shoot at 1600 ISO to get useable shutter speeds indoors without flash, and during the later hours of the day up here in Oregon during the winter. Lots of trees, gray days. When using a Canon a95 P/S on aperture preferred, which is limited to ISO 400, I often can shoot with similar shutter speeds in lower light, although it does have a f/2.8 lens on the wide end. I'd like to have at least a 3200 setting on the D50 that I could "push" to 6400 by compensating down one stop, if needed.

    Also, I don't mind the D50 single command dial, I just wish it were on the front, not the back, more like the Canons I used to shoot with.

    Of course, I know I really need fast glass, and the 50 1.8 is definately on the list. Maybe for Christmas...
     
  15. Buschmaster macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    Minnesota
    #15
    Glad you made your decision! Good luck with all your shots, take a bunch of practice shots to get used to it.:)
     
  16. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #16
    I have the D50 and I don't think the D80 would be "overkill." What is "overkill" about a camera? The D80 has all the functions of the D50, but several more. It's not as if I'd be confused with a D80 in my hand. It would take me 30 minutes to "acclimatize" (or probably a few hours of shooting to really make it feel like it was "mine").

    If I were in the market today, and money wasn't the issue, I'd go for the D80. It's still great value and you don't get a lot of things you would never miss. However, I love my D50 and it takes photos I'm happy with, so congratulations. :)



    @pdxflint: DPReview does tests on ISO and Nikon is very accurate with their ISO settings, unlike Canon. Pentax and Nikon both seem to be accurate.
     
  17. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    #17
    I don't doubt that, and that would explain how my experiences coming from previous 35 mm Canon SLRs and the a95 could affect my perception. Still, I wish the D50 had higher ISO settings. I'd even take more noise just to get there. Still, it's a really nice camera, and very well built. It's not going anywhere...;)
     
  18. Curren~Sea thread starter macrumors regular

    Curren~Sea

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    Jun 21, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #18
    Overkill, in my mind would be paying $450 more for features I would rarely if ever use. The features on the D80 that I would have liked include the larger nicer viewfinder, the quieter shutter snap, and perhaps some of the editing functions. For my use, I don’t see much benefit in the larger LCD screen or enhanced flash capabilities, among others. So it was impossible for me to justify the extra $, for now… I could get 3 months down the road and find that I really want more features. In which case, the store where I bought my D50 would be happy to exchange my D50 (as long as it’s in good condition) and upsell me.

    Once again I’d like to thank everyone for their feedback, including the folks in other posts who gave their opinions.
     
  19. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
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    Redondo Beach, California
    #19
    Ken Rockwell gets his technical stuff exactly right and he writes well but his opinions seem to be not so mainstream.

    The D40 lacks an in-body focus motor and is therefor limited to using only AF-S lenses. This for me is an absolute deal killer. I would not want a D40. And the price is the same as the D50.
     
  20. Irish Dave macrumors regular

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    Nov 20, 2006
    Location:
    The Emerald Isle
    #20

    I know that Nikon don't have a camera with a "full frame" sensor which would put me off buying Nikon. This is serious if you decide to update your camera body later.

    I've heard rumors that the autofocus system in Nikon SLR's have trouble focusing in low light. If this is true ...... go for Canon.

    Dave :)
     
  21. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #21
    Many photographers don't pay much attention to Ken Rockwell -- his "reviews" are highly suspect in that, one, they are quite subjective and two, at times he comments on and critiques cameras or lenses that he has not even seen or handled. !!??!! Take whatever he writes with a huge grain of salt and go elsewhere for genuine reviews of cameras and lenses.....
     
  22. Silentwave macrumors 68000

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Gainesville, FL
    #22
    First of all, nikon doesn't because:
    A) until this past year, Full Frame was insanely expensive- prior to the 5D, nothing under $5000 was full frame.
    B) Full Frame without solving some of the problems that Canon has ignored in its past 3 cameras does not satisfy Nikon's stringent quality requirements.

    Full Frame is ONLY an issue at this point if you feel the strong desire to upgrade to a $3000+ body. Even so, there are two previous Full Frame 14MP Nikon-mount DSLRs from Kodak. Nikon is also rumored to have at least two prototypes floating around for their Full Frame next generation camera.

    Also, that AF system talk is patently false. Nikons are great in low light, and several have a reputation for being better in low light focusing than Canon.
     
  23. Irish Dave macrumors regular

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    Nov 20, 2006
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    The Emerald Isle
    #23
    Hi,
    Even the top of the range "Professional" Nikon cameras don't offer "Full frame" sensors. To a "Pro" this is criminal.

    When is a 24mm lens not a 24mm lens ? ................. Answer When it's fitted to a Nikon.

    I don't agree, Canon autofocus system is streets ahead of Nikon. Why do over 80% of professional photographers choose Canon?

    Dave:)
     
  24. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    Oregon coast
    #24
    ... and when it's fitted to a few Canon's... at least as far as the non full-frame Canons vs. Nikons - the Nikons have slightly larger sensors at 1.5x vs. 1.6x for Canon.

    But, I do agree largely with the notion that for pro work I'd prefer a full-frame body, and think Nikon should just go ahead and release one.
     
  25. Irish Dave macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Location:
    The Emerald Isle
    #25
    Hi,
    At the moment there are three Canon D-SLR's with full frame sensors. Yes they are very expensive but essential for professional photographers. Although two of the three cameras are outside the budget of most keen amateurs, the EOS 5D is reasonably affordable and can be had for £1700 GBP for the body.

    Nikon really should get their act together and release at least one. They are loosing what little share of the pro market they still have by not having a full frame D-SLR.

    Two of our local newspapers, who had been Nikon users for years have recently changed to Canon for this very reason.
    Once Pro users change from one make of camera to another, they probably won't change back again.

    This is why I think it's criminal that Nikon users are still waiting for a "real" pro camera years after Canon have released theirs. I have used the Canon 16.7 Mp EOS 1Ds Mk 2 camera, it's totally awesome. A friend who uses one of them regularly has enlargements of 8 feet x 6 feet and the quality is unbelievable.

    Greetings from Ireland
    Dave :)
     

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